I looked at my Apple Watch fitness challenge for August and nearly fell over – I need to walk 171 miles this month to achieve the goal. What? Where in the heck did it come up with such a ridiculous goal? Then I realized that I walked 60 miles in 6 days during the last week of July, which apparently convinced my watch that I’m suddenly into massive amounts of walking. No, I’m not. It’s called Airventure. Even with riding trams and buses as much as possible, I still walk a lot. Everyone knows Osh is a marathon. Well, everyone except for my watch.
Osh is always an epic adventure and this year was no exception. The weather was perfect. The crowds were large. The aircraft were impressive. My feet are still tired. In a week that features one amazing event after the next, it is hard to single anything out as better than the rest, but here are a few of my favorites.
I’ve never seen a Hawkeye in person before, so standing on the flight line as two of them flew in was definitely a special moment. I always love seeing something new! The also performed during one of the airshows.
I can hear some of you now: “But Jenn – F-18s are nothing new. They’ve been doing airshow demonstrations for years. They aren’t special.” I know. I don’t care. I just like F-18s!
I nearly passed out when a MiG-29 showed up on Friday. Talk about something I never thought I’d see! It arrived with a team of L-159s and a business jet, all painted in variations of grey and white cammo. The planes belong to Draken International, founded by Jared Isaacman. The bizjet and L-159s landed fairly quickly but the MiG put on a bit of a show. First time I’ve witnessed a plane use a parachute upon landing.
Glen Towler knew pretty much everyone at Airventure, which was why he was known as the “Mayor of Oshkosh.” He traveled all the way from New Zealand to attend every year. Sadly, Glen passed away from cancer in May. Thanks to generous donations by friends, a memorial brick was unveiled by the Brown Arch. It is a fitting tribute to someone who loved the place so much.
Mid-day at the Oasis
Airventure unveiled a new perk for Lifetime Members this year – the Oasis. It’s a building just off the main walkway along the flightline where Lifetime Members and one guest each could go to relax, grab a snack and use the potty trailer. It was really, really nice. It quickly became our go-to meeting location and we often spent time there recharging batteries and resting our feet.
Night Air Show
The night air shows are always spectacular. Every time I see one I think they can’t possibly get any better. Airplanes with lights and sparklers at night? Amazing! Fireworks? Super! Airplanes with sparklers and fireworks at the same time? Jaw dropping!!
We wrapped up Osh 22 by attending a showing of Top Gun Maverick at the Fly-In Theater. Later estimates indicated an attendance of roughly 7,000 people. All I know is that the place was packed! The event kicked off with a fly-over and a presentation by Kevin LaRosa, the aerial coordinator for the movie. Kevin had never attended Osh before and admitted to being a bit blown away by the whole event. I had seen Top Gun Maverick twice in the theater, but seeing it again with a huge crowd of aviation enthusiasts was something special.
The end of Osh always makes me a little sad. It’s hard to say goodbye to my friends, most of whom I only see at Airventure. My feet are happy for the break, though. And, of course, it is never too early to start thinking ahead to Osh23. Hope to see you there!